Microsoft is planning a tablet computer to rival Apple’s iPad

15 Jun 2012

Windows 8 mastermind Steven Sinofsky with some of the hardware being prepped for the new OS's big reveal this year

Various reports suggest Microsoft is set to unveil in the coming week branded hardware that will finally put it in the race to wrest away tablet industry market share from Apple’s iPad which currently dominates 75pc of the tablet market.

On Monday at a secret event in LA the software giant, which largely eschews the hardware market except for the Xbox 360 and various peripherals, is going to make a major announcement.

Various reports from sites including The Wrap, CNET and All Things Digital refer to individuals with insider knowledge who are adamant that a Microsoft-manufactured tablet.

Traditionally Microsoft has left the hardware side of the personal computing and mobile computing industries to OEM (original equipment manufacturing) partners.

Having some control over the hardware in the tablet market is a move that is beginning to make sense for the iPad’s rivals. Google is expected to reveal this month its own-branded Android tablet in partnership with ASUS.

Who has partnered with Microsoft? A likely contender could be Samsung which has in the past produced delightful tablet/PC combos based on Windows 7 and has been in direct conflict with Apple over patents concerning its Android-based Galaxy Tab. It too wants to strike back at Apple and in fairness the Galaxy Tab has captured a sizeable chunk of the tiny sliver of marketshare that the iPad has rather decently ceded to rivals.

Another contender could be Dell which, despite being bounced around in the market with various attempts at Android smartphones and Android tablets, is nonetheless a stalwart supporter of Microsoft having been one of the earliest beneficiaries of the Wintel alliance in the 1990s and which has built up a sizeable enterprise server and consulting business with Microsoft cloud technology at its core.

If the rumours are true, all will be revealed on Monday.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years